Zendaya and Tom Holland will never be the 'ideal' Hollywood love story.

On paper (or in a TikTok algorithm), Tom Holland and Zendaya's relationship looks like the ideal Hollywood love story, ripe for building out their own extensive fandom and monetising future projects through the linking of their famous names.

Zendaya is a Disney Channel child star who made the sometimes-difficult leap to critically acclaimed actress, becoming the youngest winner in history to be awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the first woman of colour to win the award twice.

For his part, Tom Holland is a Broadway child star-turned-Marvel leading man with his role as Spider-Man.

This year, in particular, the two actors have very deliberately sidled away from their child-star and superhero pasts with more adult fare – Tom with his role in the new psychological thriller series The Crowded Room and Zendaya with Challengers, a new threesome-featuring rom-com.

From meeting on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming to the mythology of how they first fell in love (rumour has it that Tom's viral Umbrella performance on Lip Sync Battle was all a ploy to woo Zendaya, and her face in the video looks to confirm this), this relationship has all the makings of a traditional Hollywood love story.

Except it will never go down that path.

It's safe to say that having two of the biggest stars of their generation romantically linked is the stuff of entertainment industry dreams.

Think Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson further capitulating the Twilight franchise to fame, Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck strategically pushing people to talk about Deep Water, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens keeping the High School Musical movies pumping way past their relevancy date, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams fuelling the romantic mythology around The Notebook, and the original Spider-Man love story of Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield drawing more eyes to their superhero saga.


Even the tabloid rumour-ridden romance of Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles pulled Don't Worry Darling out of the box office abyss after the movie was slammed with bad reviews.

Despite this precedent, it's looking more and more likely that Tom and Zendaya's relationship will never be the ideal Hollywood romance, and not because the public is not wholly invested in them.

Tom Holland and Zendaya on a Marvel red carpet. Image: Getty. 


It's because, instead of projecting a fame-filled love story to the masses, they've made their hatred and uncertainty around fame a cornerstone of their brand, rather than their relationship itself.

In a recent episode of Jay Shetty’s On Purpose podcast, Tom – who took a year off acting to deal with the emotional toll of filming The Crowded Room – said the glare of the entertainment industry frightens him.

“It is not for me. The business really scares me, " the 27-year-old actor said. “I understand that I’m a part of that business and I enjoy my kind of interactions with it, but that said, I am always looking for ways to kind of remove myself from it to kind of just live as normal a life as possible.

 "I really do not like Hollywood."

Zendaya and Tom, who have been dating for more than two years, have always been careful to never extensively talk about each other in interviews or pose at events together outside of their Marvel work commitments. So the main story thread around their relationship has always been about how much they don't want the public to intrude on it.

In a recent cover story for Elle, Zendaya was asked about her relationship with Tom. Specifically, about photos of them on a boat ride in Venice that recently surfaced.

Instead of sharing any sweet or compelling stories about the couple's life together, Zendaya explained why she needed to deflect the question.


“Parts of my life, I accept, are going to be public,” she said. “I can’t not be a person and live my life and love the person I love. But also, I do have control over what I choose to share. 

"It’s about protecting the peace and letting things be your own but also not being afraid to exist," the 26-year-old continued. "You can’t hide. That’s not fun, either. I am navigating it more than ever now.”

Thanks to their combined dislike and distrust of the fame machine, coupled with their intense need for privacy, it's clear that Zendaya and Tom will never be the 'ideal' Hollywood love story – a couple whose image can be easily packaged up and sold.

And that could actually be a good thing.

We are currently living in an age where we demand more access to performers than ever before. 

A place where fans feel vindicated in crashing a wedding and closing down an entire neighbourhood just to catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift.

Where a takedown of Hailey Bieber takes over the online world, and in the case of the Met Gala, crosses over into the physical world, all because of some imagined defence of Selena Gomez.

Celebrities do not need our pity or protection, but at the same time, the currency between their personal lives and their work has moved into a truly unhealthy place. And we all need to take a step back.

Feature image: Getty.